This trip was pretty much pure indulgence…not that it was expensive because of the time of year that I went but I had been curious for a long time so I indulged myself and booked a room for several nights at the Watergate Hotel! I had been to Washington or rather through Washington twice before…once when we were driving down to VA to visit my husband’s brother and another time when we were driving to FL to visit my husband’s parent’s. We pretty much did a drive through…we never spent the night. The one big thing we went to see was the Smithsonian…that is a whole day adventure that must be done if you have never been there before! They have everything there! One of my sister’s and I also came down a couple years ago for a conference at the FDA. She is on oxygen so we did not tour the city but we did go to Union Station…I loved that!
I left my house around 9:30 in the morning because for whatever reason I had it in my head that it would be a 5 hour drive give or take a few minutes. I was only off 2 hours not counting the times I stopped for gas and to just walk around. I got there about rush hour and though it was Monday and the roads were a bit busy it was not Boston rush hour busy. The Watergate is a very elegant hotel. When I walked in the door history flashed through my head but also episodes of NCIS because Tony’s father always stayed there when he came to town. 🙂 🙂
After checking into the front desk I found my room…a room facing the river with a seating area and a slider opening onto the balcony. It was a lovely spot though a little chilly in January to be sitting on the balcony. I went down to the comfortably formal Kingbird restaurant for dinner. Outside the restaurant were igloos…you could sit out there in enclosed warmth and have dinner and/or drinks. From what I read you had to book ahead for one of the several they have and on this night two were occupied. I am missing a few pictures…no idea where I put them but you get the general idea below…except I can’t find the pictures of the igloos!
I made arrangements for a private tour of Washington with Alan Feldman who owns Concierge Tours. I have to tell you…if you are ever considering a tour of Washington do not waste your money on a hop on/hop off tour…don’t waste your money on any of the other tours…Alan…your best value for the money. As soon as you book, he will send you an e-mail and ask some questions…and then he will call you and follow it up with an e-mail. He wants to make sure you are getting everything you ask for or might want included in your tour. I was a tour group of one…clearly I got his undivided attention but he remembers everything you say and makes sure you get what you want! He picked me up at 9 AM and dropped me off a little after 5. Because of my issues, my issue not his…with walking long distances we did not get to see everything I had wanted to and he offered to pick me up against the next morning. We went out for a short period of time but my hip started acting up again and I got to a point where I just could not walk anymore…he rented a scooter to go back and get his car so he could come back and pick me up! You will not be disappointed! He also is extremely knowledgeable…a self-proclaimed history geek and he has a great sense of humor with an almost unlimited store of jokes.
Thank you for allowing me that brief commercial interruption. I did not know Alan prior to this tour and I have no interest in his business but he did such a wonderful job I feel I need to sing his praise. Because the impeachment hearings were starting today Alan had to make a slight change in the scheduled plan for the day because he was unsure what might be open and available and when. Our first stop was at the Ford Theater and then over to Petersen House…the boarding house where President Lincoln was brought after he was shot and where he died. What was cool was that they had the door open though you had to look through Plexiglas to see into the balcony where the President was shot. Again, I am missing a number of pictures from the visit to Ford’s Theater.
Our next stop was the US Capital…outstanding! The press was there in droves for the hearings though you would not know from the areas we toured. It was a little bit of history to be here on this day!
Taking a few of the pictures from above of special note…the first image is of Helen Keller as a 7 year old when she first learned the word water when it was signed on her hand by her teacher Ann Sullivan, the second is of Ronald Reagan…specifically pointed out to me by Alan and not the Capital guides was the fact that between the “flooring” President Reagan is standing on and the pedestal supporting it are pieces of the Berlin Wall. If you recall, it was President Reagan who said “Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall! I am not sure and I questioned Alan as to why the Capital guides would not point this out..I think people would want to know this. The final image is of the statue at the top of the Capital building. The Statue of Freedom. Details of this statue can be found at:
Next stop…Mount Vernon. I was excited about going out to see where the President and Mrs. Washington lived. We toured the house, walked the grounds, went down and saw where they were buried along with their granddaughter, Nelly and many other family members. We also had a pleasant surprise when one of the caretakers came by with the sheep…each of which was pregnant and would give birth early March. Note below…the store when you go into the visitor center…very outrageously expensive distilled spirits! Word has it that it is not that good…but was manufactured at Mount Vernon.
That was pretty much the end of the day. My body was shot and Alan was taking me back to my hotel but did make the offer since I did not see all we discussed to come back and to get me at 9 tomorrow. Before I end this post though I want to post some miscellaneous images taken around Washington. Two notes here…the gentleman below holding the sign…no one beeped their horn and that small house below? That was where the entrance to the city was way back in the day and every single traveler had to stop there and state what their business was in town.
The last picture above is Albert Einstein. Alan pointed it out as we were driving by so it is a bit blurry but it is him tucked away by the trees outside the National Academy of Sciences.
Tomorrow we will try to squeeze in as much as we can before my hips give out. Be sure to come back for the continuation of this journey!
You know the routine by now….come visit me at my page on Facebook, on Instagram and at my website. If you find something you like on my blog and you don’t find it for sale, please contact me. I will give you a quote.
See you on the road!
Nothing lasts forever, except the day before you start your vacation.
– Gayland Anderson